PV Sindhu beats Saina Nehwal to enter India Open semis
Sindhu, who lost to Saina, 27, in their only international meeting in 2014, won the first game in 19 minutes but had to fight hard to recover a 16-19 trail in the second game. Photograph: (Twitter)
India's PV Sindhu won a much-anticipated clash with compatriot Saina Nehwal in straight games to book a place in the semi-finals of the India Open badminton tournament in New Delhi on Friday.
Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu served past former champion Saina 21-16, 22-20 in an intense 47-minute quarter-final battle at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
Sindhu, 21, had to dig deep into her reservoir of talent against the former world number one Saina as a raucous home crowd found it hard to take sides.
Sindhu, who lost to Saina, 27, in their only international meeting in 2014, won the first game in 19 minutes but had to fight hard to recover a 16-19 trail in the second game.
"Overall a very good match... even when she was leading 20-19, I still had the belief that I could pull through, I can do it," Sindhu told reporters.
"Sindhu-Saina is not a new rivalry... rivalry is always there on court but off court we are normal friends. I didn't feel any pressure. I don't know about her.
"Saina is not someone special that I have to win against her. Against each player, I will give 100 percent."
Sindhu will now meet second-seeded South Korean player Sung Ji Hyun, who earlier edged out defending champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 21-16, 22-20, in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Top-seeded Spanish star Carolina Marin also booked her last-four spot after battling past Minatsu Mitani of Japan 21-10, 20-22, 21-14.
Marin will clash with fourth-seeded Akane Yamaguchi, who staved off a challenge from fellow Japanese Nozomi Okuhara 21-13, 11-21, 21-18.
In the men's singles quarter-finals, Denmark's Viktor Axelsen survived a tough challenge from Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan to prevail 19-21, 21-14, 21-16 in 65 minutes.